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And on a positive note - Mo's Journal
June 10th, 2008
08:11 am

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And on a positive note
Interesting article on same-sex marriage in the Times. In the Health Section there's a brief review of research showing that greater equality and better conflict skills in same-sex relationships lead to greater satisfaction in the relationship. Similar results are discussed in Pepper Schwartz's book Peer Marriage. Studying same-sex couples and seeing what's the same and what's different illuminates what is - and isn't - gender difference in relationships. When certain patterns are common to m/m and f/f couples but not to m/f couples, it would seem to be more about sexism and gender expectations than innate gender difference.

Key excerpt behind the cut:

Notably, same-sex relationships, whether between men or women, were far more egalitarian than heterosexual ones. In heterosexual couples, women did far more of the housework; men were more likely to have the financial responsibility; and men were more likely to initiate sex, while women were more likely to refuse it or to start a conversation about problems in the relationship. With same-sex couples, of course, none of these dichotomies were possible, and the partners tended to share the burdens far more equally.

While the gay and lesbian couples had about the same rate of conflict as the heterosexual ones, they appeared to have more relationship satisfaction, suggesting that the inequality of opposite-sex relationships can take a toll.

“Heterosexual married women live with a lot of anger about having to do the tasks not only in the house but in the relationship,” said Esther D. Rothblum, a professor of women’s studies at San Diego State University. “That’s very different than what same-sex couples and heterosexual men live with.”

Other studies show that what couples argue about is far less important than how they argue. The egalitarian nature of same-sex relationships appears to spill over into how those couples resolve conflict.


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I think of this with regard to my own life and relationships, but also in terms of what it means for slash...

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From:mofic
Date:June 10th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
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Interesting about Gottman. I really like his books.

Have you read Pepper Schwartz?
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From:mofic
Date:June 10th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
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One of the really interesting things I found with Schwartz's work was her concept of "near peers." These were heterosexual couples who tried for an egalitarian relationship, perceived themselves as being in an egalitarian relationship, divided up housework and so on in an egalitarian fashion. But at stress points - particularly when the two of them could not agree on a course of action - they defaulted to gender roles - men making decisions around money and work and women around childrearing. Every couple has points where you just can't agree and every couple has to come up with some way of dealing with that. And it so makes sense in a go-with-the-flow way to default to traditional gender roles. It's easy; it's expected. It's TRADITION (sung in my Tevye voice). But since same sex couples *don't* have that to fall back on, we have to find a new path.
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From:talktooloose
Date:June 10th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
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Please write more fic. That is all.

_______________

I lie: that is not all. I will be in NYC (and on Long Island) from July 31 to August 3. I hope we can get together.
From:thelastgoodname
Date:June 10th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
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And in cases where women also have financial responsibility (particularly when men get laid off), things probably get even stickier in opposite sex relationships. It's an interesting way to think about gender.
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From:libgirl
Date:June 11th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
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This is really fascinating!

Thanks for sharing Mo!

(p.s. I have a package to send you...I'll do that...soonishly)
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From:davidfcooper
Date:June 11th, 2008 05:16 pm (UTC)
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In heterosexual couples, women did far more of the housework; men were more likely to have the financial responsibility; and men were more likely to initiate sex, while women were more likely to refuse it or to start a conversation about problems in the relationship.

My observation of heterosexual couples is that couples who can afford to will pay a third party to do the housework (that's probably also true of gay couples), women manage the daily/weekly/monthly cash flow while men do the long term investing/financial planning, women initiate sex with non-verbal cues and men take it from there (likewise men are less likely to refuse sex than to simply ignore the female partner's non-verbal cues), and the relationship is a larger component of the straight female partner's self-esteem than the straight male's which makes raising the topic as risky for the man as is raising the topic of the woman's weight.


“Heterosexual married women live with a lot of anger about having to do the tasks not only in the house but in the relationship,” said Esther D. Rothblum, a professor of women’s studies at San Diego State University.


After age 40 women are more likely than men to initiate divorce.

We don't get to pick our sexual orientations. All relationships require effort, attention, and communication, though some may handle these better than others.
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From:kestrelsparhawk
Date:June 12th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC)
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What a funny coincidence! I read the article, popped on line to post a bit about it, wandered off... and today have been catching up on my back f-list and discovered you'd pounced on it too.

I also thought of the slash implications -- and more specifically, how this information could inform the younger slash writers who often assume an unequal dynamic -- ie one of the pair (always the bottom, ime) is also the "girl" in the relationship.
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From:mofic
Date:June 12th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
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Yeah it's good if writers of slash rethink relationships a bit. G-d knows real same sex couples need to rethink!
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